Having not pitched over 75 innings in a season since 2010 due to injuries, Colorado Rockies SP Jorge de la Rosa has enjoyed success in 2013 with a new approach. De la Rosa had historically struggled with walks, having 7.75 K/nine and 4.28 BB/nine for his career. Thus far in 2013, de la Rosa has 5.79 K/nine and 2.89 BB/nine. The decrease in the walks has substantially changed the way de la Rosa pitches, leading him to be more effective.
As base runners lead directly to runs, de la Rosa has taken his WHIP down from his career 1.50 to his 2013 1.33. De la Rosa has induced many more groundballs due to his emphasis on his secondary pitches. Though de la Rosa has thrown over 50% fastballs for his career, he is throwing under 38% four-seam fastballs in 2013. Hitters hit over .300 against de la Rosa’s four-seam fastball historically, but they hit substantially lower against every other pitch. While de la Rosa’s career average velocity on his fastball is 93.0 MPH, he is averaging just 91.4 MPH this season. According to Fan Graphs Pitch F/X, de la Rosa has added a two-seam fastball. He is throwing that about 17% of the team, with great success. His newfound emphasis on secondary pitches, leading to fewer walks and more groundballs, has led to this strong performance.
While de la Rosa’s FIP of 3.70 is more likely to represent his future performance than his current 3.38 ERA, that would still be strong production from the oft-injured starter. If de la Rosa can creep close to his career high 185 innings, he would offer the Rockies’ value that they haven’t gotten from any starter since Ubaldo Jimenez.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.